Millionaire Ex-Wives Club - A measure of sympathy for the devil?

Michelle Young, whose story was featured in Millionaire Ex-Wives Club, battled her husband in the courts for 10 years
Michelle Young, whose story was featured in Millionaire Ex-Wives Club, battled her husband in the courts for 10 years
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It’s difficult to feel any sympathy for the mega-rich. There they go, swanning around in their Bentleys, insulated from the years of austerity everyone else has been forced to go through.

So it was a discomfiting experience to sit through Millionaire Ex-Wives Club (BBC2, Wednesday, 9pm). Lynne Alleway’s film followed two women as they went through divorce, each with millions at stake.

Lisa Tchenguiz came from a wealthy family, married into more wealth, and then married into even more wealth a second time. She lived in a world of marble balustrades, gold taps and hot and cold running servants.

For all her talk of betrayal and loneliness, Lisa seemed pretty well bubble-wrapped against any kind of fall-out from her relationship split.

Michelle Young, however, has a different story. One lawyer featured in the documentary said some of these women being divorced were like “scratching posts, so the husband can download what a terrible day he’s had”.

Well, Michelle has been scratched good and proper, supporting her husband Scot for decades as he built a business and she built a family.

One day, out of the blue, he left and the ensuing divorce was the longest in British legal history, with Scot claiming he had no money, and Michelle doggedly pursuing hidden bank accounts and secret insurance policies. Scot died, gruesomely, in the end, with the money still hidden and allegations of criminality swirling around him.

Michelle is bankrupt, with £17m in legal fees to pay, handing out leaflets trying to raise awareness of the plight of divorced women. She clearly had a stake in her husband’s success, she clearly had a good claim, and she clearly deserved our sympathy.

I wouldn’t have thought I’d write that when I first started watching.

Hard Sun (BBC1, Saturdays, 9.35pm) twisted itself in knots this week with this exchange... “Talk to Simone, tell her the truth.”

“Yeah? And what’s that?”

“Dunno. Make something up.”

The best show on TV right now? Spiral (BBC4, Saturdays, from 9pm). It’s cool, complicated, believable and French. And everything sounds better when it’s said in French, I think we agree.